Jonathas de Andrade (Brazil, 1982) is an artist whose work spans the media of photography, film and installation. With a focus on urbanisation and nostalgia, his work often translates documentation into layers of memory, casting them with a wry eye, and his own memories of the fall of utopian modernism. Andrade’s upbringing in Maceió, in the east of Brazil, influenced his focus on this topic and his training in Recife offered him the perfect landscape of study.
An enormously influential part of De Andrade’s practice was the formation of artistic collective A Casa como Convém (The House as It Should Be) in 2007. The group looked at the urbanisation of the surrounding area and its fall into disrepair when the idealisation of modernism had long began to fade. The group often created works that involved the local community of Recife, deliberately drawing a counterpoint to artistic activities happening in larger, more dominant, cities such as Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo.
De Andrade’s film The Housekeeper (2016) depicts a dialogue between two eras in the same house. Using documentary footage from the 1950’s he shows the average day of sociologist and writer Gilberto Freyre and a housekeeper of the current day, who goes about his chores in a film that echo relationships based on race and class. The film itself could in fact be from the fifties, with its soundtrack echoing the music of that time, and the message is clear. The sheen of modernism has long past and though the process through which it took ahold of the area seemed all encompassing it did little to change the true social issues that are prevalent even today.
De Andrade is also influenced by objects of his own past. An example of such were the set of twenty posters used by her mother during the 80s and 90s to teach children in her classroom. Created in the 70s, these documents have all the design aspects of that time, right down to the recognisable modernist font that was the descriptor below the illustrations. Gathering a group of women who could neither read nor write, these posters became the basis for a series of meetings that resulted in a new set of posters created by de Andrade himself as an image-based rendering of the alphabet. The posters were created using the Paulo Freire method of literacy that combines education with social consciousness and resulted in a bold display of sixty posters.
Jonathas De Andrade has had solo exhibitions at Instituto Cultural Banco Real, Recife (2009); Centro Cultural São Paulo (2010); Kunsthalle Lissabon, Lisbon (2013); and Musée d’art Contemporain de Montréal (2013). He participated in the group exhibitions When Attitudes Became Form Become Attitudes, CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Art, San Francisco; and Salvajes: Digesting Europe Piece by Piece, Traneudstillingen Exhibition Space, Copenhagen (both 2012); Love and Hate to Lygia Clark, Zachęta National Gallery, Warsaw; HIWAR, Conversations in Amman, Darat al Funun, Amman, Jordan; My Third Land, Frankendael Foundation, Amsterdam; La Bienal 2013: Here is where we jump, El Museo del Barrio, New York; and Moving: Norman Foster on Art, Carré d’Art, Musée d’Art Contemporain, Nmes (all 2013). He is currently taking part in the exhibition Strange Days: Memories of the Future in London.
All images courtesy of the artist.